When I have code to write I tend to neglect this blog and a lot of other developer-to-player communication avenues available.
I've been getting a lot of comments in the Krashlander (for iOS) reviews where people are asking where the update is. Many players want more levels. Some are getting pretty frustrated (understandably so).
Today, I got this:
It is amazing to see the loyalty people have towards this game without returned loyalty from the developer. Either release more chapters or give us more info to let us know when if ever, to expect an update.
This was a little bit tough to read, but I don't blame the person that wrote it. I can't respond directly to comments in iTunes, so I thought I'd at least throw out a quick (edit: well maybe not so quick) blog post and hope whoever wrote the review (and others with similar feelings) see it.
The Krashlander update is in progress. Since the day it was released, I have not stopped working on it. I'm re-working a lot of things based on the feedback from the first release.
All the development for Krashlander is done in my spare time so it takes time to get things out the door.
Here are a few of the things I'm updating for the next release.
New skill level system:
One of the biggest issues new players had with Krashlander was that it was too difficult to grasp the control mechanic. The frustration usually set in at, I think, level 4 or 5 when you first had to get air and then land on your skis.
I set out to fix this issue while at the same time avoiding dumbing the game down for those that like the controls and the difficulty level as it is.
In the update, players can choose to play the Novice, Expert, or Elite skill level.
Expert represents the current controls. If you like things the way they are, set the game to Expert and forget about it.
Novice is less realistic but easier to stick a landing. If you quit the game because it was to frustrating, try again (once it's released) with the new novice setting and see if it's a bit easier stick those landings.
Elite...ahhh, ELITE. Elite is my new favorite way to play. It is also the most realistic way to play the game. You'll get no rotation 'help' while in the air. To stick your landing you need to plan ahead and impart some rotation at take off then control rotation speed by crouching (to increase rotation) or extending (to slow rotation) same as in real life. If you take off and you are not rotating, guess what; you will be "not-rotating" when you face-plant into the ground as well.
I didn't even think to put the Elite style controls in the 1st release for fear it would just be too damn difficult. Well, after playing Expert for a while, the Elite controls are not THAT big a step up and man is it fun.
New scoring system:
The scoring system was confusing and caused a lot of people to just keep resetting the level after each run so they could get the 3 stars. That really isn't the experience I was going for. Krashlander is really all about the skiing not some complex scoring system.
In the updated version, I simplified things:
- Every level has 3 robots.
- You get 1 star for every robot you kill.
- You must kill at least one robot to unlock the next level.
With this new system, you are not penalized for how many attacks it takes to kill the robots so there is no need to continually reset the level. Also, to reward those who play at the higher skill levels, players get:
- Single points for playing as Novice
- Double points for playing as Expert
- Triple points for playing as Elite
Your "overall" or "game" score, then, is simply whatever score is the highest of the Novice, Expert, and Elite.
My goal with this system was to allow new people to get accustom to the controls playing as Novice while at the same time making it so the higher level players didn't have to concern themselves at all with the Novice skill level. They can just ignore it and not be penalized in any way.
Better level progression in the beginning:
In the first version of Krashlander, the difficulty of the game ramped up a little to quick for a lot of people. With the update, I've front-loaded the game with some more "easy" levels to ease players into the controls a bit slower. I'm hoping this increases retention and reduces the number of rage-quits.
New tutorials built into the beginning levels:
This, again, is to help ease players into the game. The tutorials now exist directly in the levels and I think will make things much more clear. The tutorials will not show for those playing Elite and for everyone else they can be turned off in settings.
New settings screen:
I'm currently working on a new settings screen. This screen will contain:
- A toggle to turn off tutorials.
- A button that allows you to reset your level progression and scores in case you want to start over.
- A feedback button to make it easy for players to send me feedback via email
- Whatever else I think of between now and release time.
Video play-back and sharing:
Many crazy things can happen in Krashlander. With the update, I plan to have an easy way to record, playback, and share videos of your game play easily right from the game. (This is still to be developed but should not take to long since I'll be using a service that helps with this)
For the update, I'll be adding some minimal "landscaping". You'll see some trees and other structures peppered throughout the levels. The majority of this will just be background filler. I'll keep it pretty sparse so it doesn't clutter up the simple graphic style of the game.
Bug fixes and minor tweaks:
I have a small list of bugs and other tweaks that I've either already made or will be making prior to release.
And of course, MORE LEVELS:
I plan to have at least 40 levels total in the update. The ordering of the levels is changed for the new release since I had to re-work things in order to ramp things up more slowly.
This is cause for some bad news. I will need to reset everyones current progress in the game. I tried to figure out a way to avoid this, but with all the changes I just had to make the tough decision to start everyone over. I know this is going to piss some people off and I apologize for that. Had to be done, though.
So, that is about it. I know a lot of you are probably thinking: to hell with all that, just release the new levels. I get that. Thing is though, I want this game to be at least mildly successful long term and the release that's currently in the App Store is really not much more than a tech demo. Especially compared to my vision for the game.
This huge update will bring the game much closer to where I want it. After this update, I'll be able to focus much more on just level content. My goal is to eventually get to 100 levels.
To everyone who's played Krashlander. Thank You! To everyone who is waiting desperately for an update. Thanks for you patience... It's coming...